Monday, September 29, 2008

It's Crazy...

...for ALL my MANY avid readers out there (lol) I just wanted to let you know I'm not writing because I have an exam on Friday regarding the anatomy of everything from the armpit down, which we covered in 3 and half weeks. So...I'm stressed! I'll try to take it easy but I'm pretty much going insane. Later! :D

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welfare

Well, one thing you should know about me is that I tend to obsess over things. I started this blog today, and I just felt compelled to throw out my first real post. Even though I should be studying the ischioanal fossa right now (who doesn't want to study the butt, come on now!) I'm going to write my thoughts on welfare.

Keep in mind that I and my family are currently on welfare, and have been for almost a year now. For the majority of the time my wife was pregnant, neither of us was employed, and since she was already pregnant, we weren't able to get health insurance from anyone. What I did at first was use a service called Maternity Card, which in hindsight I would recommend to NO ONE. Not actually insurance, you basically pay them a monthly fee, and in return they take any medical bills you get, and negotiate with the clinic, hospital or lab to get you a better rate. Note that you still have to pay the total of this new rate, plus their monthly fee. Their only guarantee is that you'll break even, or your money back. Also, once you've signed up, you can't terminate until the pregnancy is over, unless you can show that you're covered through someone else. It's such a gimmick. Anyway.

After awhile of being involved in that stupid program, it dawned on me...what about Medi-Cal? (We were living in California at the time). I felt like such an idiot for not thinking of it before. Well they ran me through the loops because I had finally found a job, and I wasn't able to actually come into the office and complete the forms, so we did the paperwork all by mail. Long story short, many months later we finally got approved and cards in the mail. They backpayed 2 months, at least. That saved us thousands on prenatal care and especially the delivery.

We stayed with Medi-Cal until we moved to Ohio so that I could go to medical school. One of the first things I did when we got here was bike down to the Department of Job & Family Services and fill out an application. Turns out we were eligible for food stamps as well--expedited even! So now we have our medical bills and food taken care of each month...a huge relief I can tell you! I'd already taken out the maximum amount of loan money I could for my first quarter, and still running up short to pay basic monthly needs (medical school is EXPENSIVE!!)

So having said all that, you might think that I'd be all gung-ho for things like Medicaid and food stamps. Truth be told, I'm not at all. For a bunch of reasons, I'd MUCH rather see a simple system of he who has, give to him who has not. I'm a guy who likes to see as little government involvement as possible. We could ensure that 100% of every dollar went straight to needy people. It's a system I'm also very familiar with...my little family has been very financially needy this last year, and I'm certain we wouldn't have survived without ALL the amazing help from SO MANY friends and family members! I eagerly look forward to the time when I'm in a position where I can turn the tables and help out someone else in need. Still, I've been stopped while biking to class and asked for money for food or whatnot, and I give them whatever I've got in my pocket. Odds are they didn't spend it on food, but I don't feel obliged to verify their stories before giving money to them.

Anyway, my point is that, if everyone just did that, we would eliminate the need for government sponsored welfare, and, more importantly, the government taking its "cut." As far as supporting this idea, I try to do my part to support things like free clinics. In fact, next week I'll be starting orientation to get trained to volunteer at a free clinic in downtown Columbus. My plan ultimately is to do a bunch of pro-bono work, but I don't need to (and shouldn't) wait until I'm a big shot doctor to start doing my part.

I know the odds against eliminating government-sponsored healthcare are astronomical, but if we all do our part to start giving back and stop being so selfish, who knows what could happen? As Mr. Potato Head said so famously: "Hey, I can dream, can't I?"

It's My Birthday!!

So I said to myself, "Self, let's start a blog!" I'm not sure at this point what my purposes are going to be in writing this blog and, truth be told, it's quite likely that my posts will be very rare and sporadic. You can be assured that the blog will be eclectic. I am many things at the moment: a Christian, father, husband, son, brother, conservatively moderate (registered non-partisan but usually vote Republican) first year medical student. And each of those personalities will spill out from me at one time or another. I'm not writing primarily as a Bible study, but there will be times when I discover something in God's Word that I just have to share. I'm not writing this as merely a venue for my research, but I'll be throwing ideas out here. You get the idea. Anyway, I hope that in some point in time, my musings will turn out to be beneficial for someone. I always love talking to people, so feel free to zap me an email at any time. Till next post (Lord knows when) I remain your faithful:

"Doctor" Matt

P.S. Birthday shout-out to my adoptive dad. Happy Shared Birthday Dad!